Weinstein Co.'s 'Shanghai' gets release date

Delayed first film in Asia gets mid-June release

HONG KONG — The Weinstein brothers' first Asian production has secured a Chinese release date nearly two years after shooting wrapped up in August 2008, the local distributor said Friday.

"Shanghai," starring John Cusack, Chow Yun-fat, Gong Li and Ken Watanabe, will hit Chinese theaters in mid-June, Gu Yu, a publicist for the Chinese film studio Huayi Brothers, told The Associated Press in a phone interview. It will receive a wide release, but the exact number of screens hasn't been decided, Gu said.

The Mikael Hafstrom movie, about an American intelligence official who investigates a friend's death in Japanese-occupied Shanghai in the months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, has been bogged down by repeated delays.

It was blocked from shooting in China and had to make do with sets in London and Bangkok. Chinese officials never spelled out their reasons, but they were likely concerned about the film's historical backdrop. Many Chinese are still upset about atrocities committed by the
Japanese military during its invasion.

Editing took longer than usual because Hafstrom had to combine visually different footage from London and Bangkok and went through several composers, a person familiar with the production, who was not authorized to speak to the media, told the AP in August.

"Shanghai," however, cleared Chinese censors without any edits, Gu said, although he said it was unclear why the film was only approved recently even though it was submitted early this year.

Release dates for the U.S. and other countries weren't immediately available. The Weinstein Co. didn't immediately return a call from the AP.

Bob and Harvey Weinstein are best known for founding Miramax, which became part of the independent film movement in the 1990s and produced several high-grossing movies including "Chicago." The brothers left in 2005 to form The Weinstein Co.